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Zendesk vs. ServiceNow

Help desk software shouldn’t be overly complex. Discover how Zendesk vs. ServiceNow compare and see how you can improve the employee and customer experience.

Zendesk vs. ServiceNow: A comprehensive guide

Dernière mise à jour January 22, 2024

Don’t compromise on finding software that elevates customer service interactions while delighting employees with IT support capabilities and a beautiful interface. These factors can improve the customer experience (CX) and strengthen employee satisfaction. If you’re looking for great help desk tools that keep costs low and a responsive agent interface with an intuitive layout, look no further than Zendesk.

Customers prefer Zendesk over ServiceNow because we offer fast time to value, easy implementation, and a robust toolset of help desk features that are ready to go without any additional configurations. These are just a few areas where Zendesk outperforms ServiceNow. Read on to learn more about why ServiceNow fails to keep pace with our offerings.

3 ways Zendesk outperforms ServiceNow

Agility and fast time to value

With Zendesk, you can get up and running quickly, onboard agents in record time, and adapt faster to change with our easy-to-use interface. On the other hand, ServiceNow can be complex and slow to set up and make changes to, according to several user views on G2.

Strategic partnership and support

While ServiceNow has standard support offerings, Zendesk offers an exclusive community of experts and thought leaders to strengthen your business strategy, share best practices, and grow your network. We also provide designated account management to guide you at every step.

Lower total cost of ownership (TCO)

Zendesk offers an excellent TCO with low implementation and administrative costs—employees can pick it up within hours. ServiceNow requires a substantial three-day training course and recommends six months of prerequisites for all potential administrators whose salaries average six figures.

More in this guide

At-a-glance comparison: Zendesk vs. ServiceNow

Here’s a quick look at the capabilities of Zendesk and ServiceNow’s help desk software. We based all findings on customer feedback and extensive research.

What’s needed to deliver the best support
Critical capabilities
Zendesk
ServiceNow

Reviews and ratings

User reviews and accolades

G2 (4.3 stars)

  • #1 spot for Best Software Product

  • Best Customer Service Product

  • Best Product for Mid-Market

G2 (4.1 stars)

Analyst rating

Leader for customer service

Leader for ITSM

Ease of deployment

Fast time to value

Weeks to months (90% of customers deploy in 8 weeks or less)

6–12 months (at a minimum)

Level of assistance

Product is intuitive to self-implement; professional services assistance is available

Heavy consulting engagements

ROI

High with low implementation efforts and a focus on best practices for operational change management

Limited due to high implementation efforts

TCO and agility

Implementation costs

Low

High

(3x–4x year one license cost)

Maintenance costs

Low

High (minimum 2 developer resources)

Speed to make changes

Fast

Slow

Knowledge required

None

Database architecture, scripting, ITIL (for ITSM)

Customer experience

Native channel breadth

All channels natively (voice, SMS, chat, messaging, web form, email)

No native voice or SMS; basic asynchronous chat

Social channel coverage

15+ native social messaging integrations

No native social integrations

Omnichannel widget

Yes

No

Chat and messaging experience

Embedded into the browser experience

Separate browser window

Agent interface

Omnichannel integration

All channels automatically create tickets

Required to manually create tickets from chat

Real-time experience

Yes

No

Tailored agent experience

Contextual, dynamic, and customizable agent workspace

Static interface with set information frames

Macros

Yes

No

Intuitive layout

Yes

Clunky

Robust integrations

Integrated tools

1000+ apps in the Zendesk Marketplace

Limited integrations in marketplace

Jira integration

Yes

Limited

Salesforce integration

Yes

Limited

Native Slack integration

Yes

No

Employee experience

(IT, HR, internal use cases)

Incident management

Yes

Yes

Problem management

Yes

Yes

Change management

Yes

Yes

NPS surveys

Yes

No

Asset management

Integrations available

Yes

Configuration management database

Integrations available

Yes

Service catalog

Yes

Yes

Reporting and analytics

Custom reports

Yes

Yes

Custom dashboards

Yes

Yes

Custom attribution

Yes

Yes

Custom metrics

Yes

Yes

Real-time reporting

Yes

Yes

Easy to implement

Yes

No

AI

Pre-trained CX data models

Yes, based on data points from real service interactions

No, limited pre-trained CX data models

Simple setup

Yes

No

Security

Granular permissions

Yes

Yes

Audit trails

Yes

Yes

Data redaction

Yes

Yes

SSO

Yes

Yes

PCI

Yes

Yes

Fedramp

Yes

Yes

HIPAA enabled

Yes

Add-on (requires NOW platform

Encryption at REST

Yes

Yes

Data locality

Yes

Yes

Knowledge management

Robust help center

Yes

Yes

Self-service analytics

Yes

Yes

Intelligent content gap identification

Yes

No


Zendesk vs. ServiceNow: Features comparison

Both vendors offer customer service and IT support software, but let’s look at the facts to determine which is the best.


Pricing plans: ServiceNow vs. Zendesk

Below, you can find information about pricing for Zendesk support software. Unfortunately, ServiceNow does not make its prices publicly available and requires customers to create an account before speaking with a representative.

Zendesk
ServiceNow
  • Support Team: $19 per agent/month

  • Support Professional: $55 per agent/month

  • Support Enterprise: $115 per agent/month

*All plans are billed annually

  • Get a custom quote


While pricing plans are unavailable, it’s important to note that ServiceNow’s pricing does come with high implementation costs and requires a significant amount of dedicated administrative resources. For instance, to hire one full-time administrator, most businesses will pay between $52K and $95K annually.

And considering implementation can take longer, businesses should expect a higher overall TCO and a slower time to value.

Customer stories

Customer stories

Learn why so many customers choose Zendesk over our competitors.


Frequently asked questions

Keep reading for answers to the questions prospects ask most often when comparing Zendesk and ServiceNow.

Is Zendesk better than ServiceNow?

Yes. Unlike ServiceNow, Zendesk focuses on CX, making us the best choice for customer-first companies. Zendesk is also a great option for IT support teams needing straightforward and customizable software. Leading brands like Grubhub, Shopify, and Instacart use Zendesk for both internal and external support.

Is Zendesk similar to ServiceNow?

Zendesk and ServiceNow have some similar use cases, but they are fundamentally different.

For example, Zendesk is known for having a better user experience and being easier and faster to configure, which translates to a lower overall TCO. Zendesk offers everything you need to deliver a great customer experience out-of-the-box and can be easily customized for IT support.

ServiceNow is also customizable but requires a significant investment in developers and technical resources to implement and maintain.

Is Zendesk an ITSM tool?

Zendesk is a popular and great tool for IT support used by thousands of companies, some of which include:


And with a rich marketplace of out-of-the-box integrations, Zendesk takes the complexity out of IT service management.

Does Zendesk compete with ServiceNow?

Yes, Zendesk competes with ServiceNow because both companies offer service tools for customers and employees. However, Zendesk is a stronger solution because it’s user-friendly, with a modern interface and speedy deployment. Plus, with out-of-the-box functionality, our tools are easy to implement.

Is Zendesk ITIL compliant?

Businesses can build their own holistic and flexible ITSM solution with Zendesk via partner integrations. Zendesk offers integrations with systems like Jira, Oomitza, and EZOfficeInventory to foster a simple, reliable, and intuitive ITSM solution.

Businesses can implement ITIL best practices without unnecessary complexity, manage risk, improve standardization, and gain insight into key processes to create better alignment across teams. Overall, Zendesk is easy to use, quick to implement, and flexible enough to meet your specific needs.

Ready to try Zendesk?

Experiment with a powerhouse tool for customer service and internal support and discover the lasting impact it can have on business outcomes and customer satisfaction. Sign up for your free trial of Zendesk today.

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